Top 10 Things I am Grateful for this Past Year

by Mark Votava


Gratitude is something that I have to be intentional about or I will fall into cynicism, bitterness and despair constantly.  This has been a major struggle for me over the course of my life.  I can easily turn melancholy and withdraw from the world.  But I am learning to practice a better way of gratitude the best I can in the midst of life’s difficulties.

So as I have been thinking about this a lot, here are 10 simple things that I am grateful for as someone who is created in the image of God and called to live in my true self.

1. I am grateful that I can breathe.  Breathing is a gift of life.  I take this for granted sometimes and do not recognize what I have in this gift.  I would have no life without it.

2. I am grateful that I can walk and run.  My legs are a gift that carry me where I want to go.  I am grateful that I do not have to use a wheelchair or crutches to get around.  The ability to run and walk has been such a blessing in my life.

3. I am grateful for the local community I live in.  The neighborhood I have lived in for the past decade is such a gift to me.  This place where I get to seek God on the earth has shaped me tremendously.  I would not be the person I am today without it.

4. I am grateful for the ability to read books.  I see books as friends who teach me about life.  So I am grateful to be able to party with friends as I spend lots of time in silence, solitude, reflection and rest.  This brings me joy and peace among the stress of life.

5. I am grateful that I can move.  Life is about movement in whatever way we can.  I am grateful that I can move my body and experience life through all of my senses.  As I move my body, I am seeing how much wonder there is in this.

6. I am grateful for the many people who make me feel loved.  Authentic Relationships bring me life.  All of life is relational.  I am grateful for all the people I know who love me as I am.

7. I am grateful for laughter.  Laughter does not come easy to me.  But I am grateful on the days and moments that I can experience laughter.  This is something that is necessary so I do not become angry, cynical or frustrated in life.

8. I am grateful for sleep.  Sleep is so necessary and needed to function.  I am grateful that I can sleep through the night without being terrified.  Sleep helps me to get the rest I need so I can seek God the next day in new ways.

9. I am grateful for food and shelter.  I am not very happy when I am cold and hungry.  I am grateful for a bed to sleep in and a room that is warm.  Having food to eat is something that is a gift in life.

10. I am grateful for clothes.  Having clothes to wear is such a gift.  I get cold very easily so a warm coat, some long johns, a shirt, hat, scarf and gloves is essential in the winter months.  I think I would die a miserable death without the gift of clothes to stay warm.

What are you grateful for?